Monday, March 27, 2006

For My Tennessee Readers

I am sorry this is late - Blogger seems to be giving me trouble the past few days but this is important information - I encourage you to write and call. Also, those in the Nashville area should attend in the morning. Here is a message I received from a reader about stopping NAIS in Tennessee: Dear Friends: We have been working on a bill with Representative Frank Nicely to keep NAIS out of Tennessee. You can read its contents below. We need to make as big a show of support as possible to get this bill through the Agriculture Committee. It's going to be a tough battle, and we need you there to help save the freedom to farm in Tennessee. The Tennessee House of Representatives Agriculture Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 in Room 29 of the Legislative Plaza (at the State Capitol) for hearings on Bill No. HB 3297. That bill would stop the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in Tennessee and free Tennessee farmers from mandatory premise registration, but still answer any valid disease control concerns anyone might have. This is our best chance to stop NAIS. If you're not willing to make the sacrifice to come to Nashville for one small morning, then don't complain later that the bill didn't pass and NAIS was crammed down your throat. On this day in 1775 Patrick Henry, the greatest statesman of the Revolution & American History, gave his famous speech in Richmond. In spite of all the odds against him in that assembly, he still spoke. Dead must be the soul whose eyes are not stirred to tears by these his words: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" We need you there on Tuesday -- you and everybody you can bring. It's up to you. Best wishes, Franklin & Justin Sanders P.S. Directions to the Legislative Plaza will follow tomorrow. P.O. Box 178 Westpoint, Tennessee 38486 (888) 218-9226; (931) 766-6066 Fax (931) 766-1128 HOUSE BILL 3297 By Niceley AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, relative to animal identification. WHEREAS, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the National Animal identification System (NAIS) program using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags is to register every farm and every domesticated animal (including non-food animals such as horses) in a centralized database; and WHEREAS, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), composed primarily of large corporate producers and the makers and producers of animal identification equipment, lobbied the USDA to create the NAIS supposedly to protect U.S. citizens and their animals from disease; and WHEREAS, in April 2002 a task force composed of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and over 30 livestock organizations created the proposed NAIS, while small-scale farmers involved in animal husbandry and animal hobbyists were not represented; and WHEREAS, farming is an honorable occupation and a right of all Tennessee citizens, and WHEREAS to protect the food supply of Tennessee and the United States from terrorism or disease it may be necessary to require Tennessee farmers to use an Animal Identification System that ensures less than 48 hour trace-back of any diseased animal, nevertheless such a system first, must not rob Tennessee citizens of their existing common law rights; second, cost farmers, stockyards, producers, processors, and consumers the least possible expense; third, leave Tennesseans secure in their privacy; and fourth, fit into the existing marketing structures of the Tennessee livestock industry without disruption, and WHEREAS, metal ear tags like those used to eradicate Brucellosis and Tuberculosis in the State of Tennessee cost only pennies and have already proven effective in eradicating disease, and WHEREAS Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are many times as expensive as metal tags, untested, vulnerable to breakdown, defeat, and falsification, require expensive reading equipment, and do not constitute a reliable alternative for the Tennessee livestock industry, THEREFORE BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE: SECTION 1 Definitions. As used herein, unless the context otherwise requires: a. Point of Entry Into Commerce means sales at a stockyard, sale barn, or sale facility. It also denotes sales where the number of animals sold will constitute a truckload or more, whether sold to in-state or out-of-state buyers. Point of Commerce shall not include farmer-to-farmer sales or direct farmer-to-consumer sales. SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, is amended by adding the following as a new, appropriately designated part: Section 44-7-501. At no time shall department of agriculture funds or any other state funds be appropriated to implement the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). SECTION 3: All animals entering the point of entry into commerce shall be tagged on the ear with a metal tag containing a fifteen digit number consistent with the proposed NAIS, identifying at least the seller and the animal. SECTION 4: For purposes of Section 3, no seller of any animal may be required to register his farm or premises as a precondition of selling said animal. SECTION 5: For purposes of Section 3, those animals sold by the truckload in private sales or cooperative sales must be tagged by the purchaser of said animals, not the seller. If the purchaser of said animals fails to tag them they shall be fined not more than $50.00 per animal. section 6: iNFORMATION COLLECTED WHEN TAGGING ANIMALS AT THE POINT OF ENTRY INTO COMMERCE SHALL BE FORWARDED TO THE uNITED sTATES dEPARTMENT OF aGRICULTURE aNIMAL pLANT hEALTH iNSPECTION sERVICE (aphis) FOR PROCESSING, ANALYSIS, STORAGE, AND TRACE-BACK. SECTION 7: For purposes of Section 6, purchasers at the point of entry into commerce are not required to gather or forward data to APHIS until APHIS is prepared to accept that data. Should APHIS fail to make itself able to accept and manage the livestock tagging data, the Legislature may decide who in Tennessee will manage that data. SECTION 8: No animals except those sold for food at a point of entry into commerce shall be required to be tagged in the State of Tennessee. SECTION 9: No livestock producer in the state of Tennessee shall be denied veterinary or other services or medication, feed, goods, or any other needs because that producers livestock is not tagged, unless that producer is attempting to enter the animal into the point of entry into commerce. SECTION 10. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What a day!

This has been an exhausting but productive day!! Many of you write and ask what a typical day is for me. I thought I'd tell you about today.... This morning I got up about 6:00 - spent time in the Word and headed downstairs to check email. There were several orders from the website (thank you all!) so I filled those and got them ready for the post office. 7:00 am time to wake the kids. While the boys are getting dressed and having breakfast, I finish up with paperwork. School starts at 8:00 for Elijah and I and the other boys usually hit the books by 9:00 - after morning chores and milking are finished. After Bible, reading, writing and math with Elijah, it is time to feed puppies (just what I need...two MORE meals to cook a day!). So, I warm the milk, soak the food, run it through the food processor and fill 6 little bowls. Today it was finally sunny again so we decided to feed outside on the driveway...aren't they cute! I pray for many more sunny days! It was so much easier than feeding inside. Then it is time to clean up - this stuff turns to CEMENT if it sits on the bowls for any length of time! While I am cleaning up the mess and loading the dishwasher the boys are setting up the kennel in the side yard so they can spend the day out in the sunshine.

They loved it. They investigated the grass, leaves and dirt, sniffed, played, chewed each other, nursed and slept....then they started all over again. The chickens came to check them out but Momma would not let them get near the pen.

Apparently she thought we had lost our minds bringing them out into the yard. It worried her to death. She whined and counted noses all day.

To be honest...she still isn't acting right :)

Ok, pups are out and it is time to make soap.

I made a batch of my Peppermint Tea Tree. This is one of my favorite soaps. It smells wonderful and is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal....I should have named it the Anti Soap!

Got the soap mess cleaned up and the dishwasher going again. The boys got their own lunch today while I headed to the greenhouse. Mom joined me down there. She is a tremendous help to me - she fills trays, makes tags and whatever else helps me...I couldn't do it without her.

We worked for most of the afternoon - planting herbs and heirloom tomatoes. I will be providing not only our own garden plants but also plants for two other gardens - the U-Turn for Christ Men's Ranch and Women's Ranch, along with orders from customers. The men come quite frequently throughout the summer and help us complete big projects (and sometimes not so big). They are wonderful ministries that help men and women get free from drugs and alcohol.

We lost track of time in the greenhouse (I need to put a clock down there but am is the only place that doesn't have one and I kind of like it that way!) and by the time we got back to the house it was 4:30! Time to feed puppies again - heat milk, soak, pulverize, feed! After feeding puppies, the boys take off to do evening chores and milk the cow.

Then time for another batch of soap - this time it was Lavender! YUMMY! Just chopping the lavender blossoms smells good - but once I open the essential oil....well, my whole downstairs smells delightful!.

By this time it is 6:00. My oldest son is taking my 15 year old to church, I am on puppy duty. My Mom takes the two youngest to her house (across the driveway here on our farm) and feeds them dinner and lets them watch a video which gives me time to clean up the puppy mess and the soap mess again (thanks Mom that was a tremendous blessing!!). I was able to throw a couple of loads of laundry (puppy mess again) into the wash during clean up. This was such a blessing for me....not having to cook a people meal! It gave me an additional 2 hours to get the kitchen in order and everything washed for tomorrow....the puppy meals and soapmaking will continue in the morning.

The boys are back by 8:00 to do their inside chores and head for bed and I am taking a quick moment to post then time to fold a couple of basket of puppy towels.

I hope to make it upstairs by 10....9 is better but tonight it will definitely be 10 or later.

I'm tired but it feels good to look back and see what all we accomplished today. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold and rainy again so that means puppies will be inside all is also my day to go to town...not a chore I enjoy but something that must be done!

I think I will have a cup of tea and go find those stairs :)

Night All!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Strange goings on!

We had the strangest weather today. Especially after yesterday...which was warm and sunny. I woke up to an overcast sky and chilly weather. The house was cold.... I have had the heat off for about three weeks because we haven't had need. It began to hail, small enough I didn't need to worry about the onions, carrots and peas in the garden. Then it began to snow. I have never seen snow like this - the flakes were the size of golf balls - I went out and could feel them hitting my head - each one was about a tablespoon of snow....if the ground had been warmer we would have had 8 or 10 inches. It was beautiful but we are ready for warm weather here. Mainly because I am ready for the puppies to head out to the barn! This morning the puppies had their first meal that didn't come from Mom! WHAT A MESS! Reminded me of what it was like to feed a 16 month old spaghetti! The book said, take Mom out for a walk and let the puppies eat, we did. It prepared us that the puppies would walk through the food, they did. It said to offer water, we did. It said they would walk through that too, they did. It said to bring Mom back in when they were done eating and Mom would clean them all up....THEY LIED! Mom wasn't a bit interested! In fact, she looked at us very accusingly and went to take a nap. The message was made that mess, you clean it up, wake me when it is over! Take a look! Could you ever imagine that warm raw milk mixed with puppy food and run through a food processor could produce this....remember....this is all taking place IN MY LIVING ROOM! I was ready to take the whole kit and kaboodle to the barn...but the snow and the temperature held me back! We have to do this twice a day for the next week. The week after that we have to soak but not pulverize the food. Then they are on plain old puppy food after that. Josiah took to them with a warm, wet, rag and they looked much better. He took this picture.... it is hard to believe that they are only 4 weeks old and will be leaving in just a few more weeks. I am praying that we can find good homes for them. Obviously we need to raise the sides on the whelping box once again. You are looking at, left to right, Face (because she is so pretty and has markings on her rear that look like a face), Goatee (again with the markings around his tail) Squirt-tail (the runt of the litter) and Boris De Ganis (named after Bors De Ganis...Jeremy is really into the Middle Ages). Obviously these are just temporary names...well, all except Boris if Jeremy decides to keep him. I am hoping the sun shines again tomorrow so I can hit the greenhouse again....I think it is a day to plant "leaf" plants according to the moon. I so enjoy it down there when the sun is shining! Perhaps tomorrow won't be quite so strange!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


After 6 weeks of work...(and they said it would only take a few hours!)I am so excited to tell ya'll that we have a website for our farm. You will notice the first link to the can click on that or you can follow this link to visit our farm! Although we suffered greatly during the last 6 weeks...we ate store bought bread, lived in a less than spotless house, ate quick and easy meals, quit making cheese and just about everything else not "necessary" to daily life...we feel it was worth the effort. Well, honestly...I feel it was worth it but I am not sure my boys would agree. They missed all of the homemade treats that usually emanate from my kitchen! A lot of my work load fell on Jeremy's shoulders (15 years old) and he has handled it wonderfully, not complaining and even offering to do more so that I could get back to the computer....I think he needs a special day out with Mom very soon. Thank you would never have happened without your help! When I travel our region and speak on medicinal herbs, the first question usually asked at the end of my talk is "do you have a website?". I am excited that I can finally answer yes to that question. This will make it easier for customers to re-order their favorite products! I also plan to put up a FAQ page that will answer some of those questions that I get asked every time I speak. We have lots of pictures of my soaps, my salves, my teas and my calendar...also the good my boys and our garden :) We will put up a page for pictures in the next week or keep you up to date on the puppies, other babies born here on our farm and anything else that strikes my fancy! I am also working on getting my Medicinal Herb Class into an ebook that can be downloaded from our site! I have a few other goodies on the burner thanks to some wonderful suggestions by Herrick Kimball and my dear friend Julie. I will be sure to let you know about them here when they are ready! I would love to hear some feedback from ya'll - there is a form on the site for that if you can spend a moment and drop me a line! I have also heard from several of you who have purchased and listened to the Plain Talk interview that I did with Rick Saenz and I want to thank you all for the kind words and encouragement - it means a great deal to me! Bless you all!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

An Exciting New Project and a Busy Life!

The last few weeks have been very busy here on the farm. Peas, carrots and onions are in the ground. At least I hope they still are....we had a doozy of a storm last night and a hard rain. I hope I don't find everything washed away! I love it when it thunders here. The sound rolls around our valley and bounces off the ridges that surround us. Last night it was so fierce it was hard to sleep. The rain did bring cooler weather for which I am very thankful. Yesterday before the storm hit it was an unseasonably warm 77 degrees. I was concerned that we may be skipping spring and starting with an early summer! But today the sky is blue, the air is crisp and cool and there is a strong breeze.....makes me think of a beautiful spring or fall day! The greenhouse will feel good today! This is the kind of weather that makes me want to dig in the dirt! I have been busy in the greenhouse planting greens and lettuce. I love lettuce and try several new varieties each year. This year my goal is to try to reduce the amount of varieties we grow in the future. I will try to pick our favorite 20! I know that still sounds like a lot but right now we grow over 40 types. I have spent the last 6 weeks working on a very exciting project! I hope to share it with all of you before the end of this week. It has taken an enormous amount of time and I hope some of you will give me some good honest feedback when I tell you what I have done!! It seems that I have spent every free minute on it and I confess I have neglected some of my normal duties to bring this project to fruition! For instance, I have not baked bread for 3 weeks - and we have certainly missed it! I bought the healthiest bread I could find but still....compared to homemade...the taste and texture were awful! I will be glad to put my hands back to bread baking! I have also learned something while working on this project....this is something I never want to do for a living! Between this project and the new puppies, I feel driven to distraction! The puppies are beginning to play is so cute to watch them take a stand, growl at each other and chew on each other. Little puppy teeth are beginning to emerge and Freckles is spending much less time in the whelping box. The boys and I are spending more time in the whelping box keeping it clean! I can say that their bladders must have grown to enormous proportions! We should be seeing personalities emerge in the next week or two! It will be hard to part with any of them but....I certainly can't feed all 6 when they get bigger! The sides to the whelping box have been extended to keep the puppies in - I kept finding them under the kitchen table! This should buy us a little more time....but not much I am afraid. Today we will be finishing up spring cleaning (another chore I had neglected during the last few weeks!). It is perfect weather to throw open the windows and bring out the vinegar and baking soda! I hope we don't have to chisel the dust off of the furniture! Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

An armful of with puppies!

Our puppies were two weeks old on Sunday. They have probably tripled in size. Each weighed about 8 ounces when born but are now close to 3 pounds. They are just beginning to walk on their legs as opposed to crawling around the whelping box. Their eyes have opened this week but it is clear that they aren't quite focusing yet. They spend their time nursing and sleeping. Freckles is now beginning to leave the whelping box for short periods of time...I guess, like all Moms, she needs a break once in awhile. My boys are trying to pick the puppy they want to keep. Siah is pretty set on a little girl named Snowflake. Jeremy can't decide between a boy named Boris (the largest puppy) and a girl. We have read that sometimes the male puppies can be aggressive towards livestock...we are trying to research this further because we have never heard of a male Pyr being aggressive at all...except against predators! Elijah is holding puppies here as we clean the whelping box....a NEVER ending chore at this point! This is a job he eagerly volunteered for and loves doing although it is getting harder for him to keep them contained. When I watch him doing this the phrase that always comes to mind is "an armful of love". It has been hard to keep the attention on math and reading when there are six adorable puppies in the room. This next week will prove challenging. Now that eyes are open and puppies are up on their feet, we can look forward to lots of escapees. We have had a few attempts already. Sometimes they start looking for Mom when she is out of the box ...up until now this had been done through sense of smell. But now that eyes are open and just beginning to focus - I can see real trouble ahead! In another week we will begin taking deposits on the puppies we decide to sell. We already know that it will be hard to part with them. I think it will be hardest on Elijah since he isn't getting "one of his own". They are beginning to growl and bark - cutest sounds you ever heard! To be so little and to act so fierce! They like to pile up and sleep together. I think it is part warmth and part security. Their markings are beautiful - they all have the badger mask so common to Pyrs. Each one a little different in shading and depth of color but all of them adorable! This is a close-up of Boris - (Boris the Big!). He is huge! He also seems a step ahead of all the other puppies - his eyes opened first, he was up on his feet before the others. So, from my perspective, this means trouble :) What amazes me most are the size of the feet on some of these guys.....some look like 50 cent pieces (remember those?). It has been a wonderful experience for my boys. So much more personal than the calves and goats who arrive each spring. But, it is not one that I am anxious to repeat any time soon! The amount of laundry required to keep the whelping box clean is amazing. The fact that someone always has to be in the house has made things difficult...from a trip to town, to church etc., someone always needs to stay behind. I know that we will be experiencing the "teething mode" before I can say "NO!" and I am really not looking forward to that! I know from experience what one set of puppy teeth can do.....imagine 6! So, today we will be extending the height on the sides of the whelping pen so we can keep them contained a little longer and hoping for warm weather so they can be moved outside.
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